What I didn't realize until I read "Natural Color" by Sasha Duer was the deeper impact underlying the fun process of making colors from your own backyard. The idea of "slow" fashion, and how our manufactured clothing is colored with chemical dyes that cover the largest organ of our body (skin), and how that can be compared to fast food choices verses cooking with real life-giving ingredients. This idea added a whole new dimension to my desire for natural color. Now, not only do I want to dye a linen pillowcase a pretty color, but to lay my head on something dyed with lavender sounds like a wonderful way to sleep! And the possibilities are endless.
"Natural Color" by Sasha Duer was a beautiful introduction to the process of natural dying complete with specific projects to get you started and such lovely pictures along the way. She shares recipes by season so that whenever you plan on foraging, you'll have plenty of materials for extracting color. The idea of creating beautiful colors from avocado pits, mint, aloe, eucalyptus, redwood pinecones, pomegranates, and loquat leaves amazes me.
Dyeing has also felt so daunting with all it's chemistry. Sasha Duer explains the plant dying process very thoroughly, from gathering your plant materials to caring for your dyed fabric. She talks about the different fibers, waters, and mordants (aids the dye in sticking to the fiber) and explains thoroughly yet simply.
With Ginger's new love for spinning wool, we though the perfect place to get started would be to dye some of her homespun fibers. Because this new craft was so daunting to me, we though we would start with the most basic of projects and move forward from there.
We chose to use Loquat leaves. There are lots of trees in our neighborhood and believe it or not, "Natural Color" informed us that these loquat leaves would produce a beautiful coppery/ peachy color.
After foraging, we washed the leaves and then cut them into smaller pieces. We then simmered the leaves in filtered water for a half hour. After the water cooled, we put in her washed and rinsed fiber and let sit in the dye bath over night.
The results were such a soft pastel color. My one mistake was to send the pretty balls of yarn off to the Grandmother's without taking a picture first. Our next project we hope to graduate to experimenting with mordants that have the potential to drastically alter and/or enrich our color results.